Fentanyl is one of the most powerful and dangerous substances widely available on the unregulated drug market. Fentanyl is an incredibly potent synthetic opioid drug that has a strong association with both a noticeable uptick in opioid addiction and also fatal overdoses in Florida.
Those who are arrested for drug offenses related to fentanyl in Florida may face harsh penalties after a conviction. Prosecutors and judges may seek to impose the most severe consequences possible in cases involving fentanyl, especially when one of the two factors below is present in a case.
When it contaminates other drugs
One of the reasons that fentanyl has become such a major public safety concern is that people often ingest fentanyl accidentally. In Florida, fentanyl has turned up in everything from marijuana and cocaine to heroin. Consumers buying substances on the unregulated market could end up sickened or addicted because they receive drugs contaminated with fentanyl. In scenarios where someone is accused of providing products adulterated with fentanyl, an overdose might inspire prosecutors to pursue more severe charges and judges to impose the maximum penalties possible, even if the person who accidentally ingested the fentanyl survives.
When someone dies
Fatal overdoses are tragic, and the stay often seeks to hold someone accountable for an individual’s decision to knowingly ingested a dangerous substance. There have been cases in Florida where prosecutors have held those who transfer fentanyl to others responsible for the overdose deaths of their customers. State law allows for first-degree murder charges in these cases. Anyone implicated in a fentanyl-related crime could potentially face severe consequences if they plead guilty or get convicted in criminal court. In recent years, lawmakers in Florida have increased the penalties for different fentanyl-related offenses. Those convicted of fentanyl drug crimes could face years in state custody and large fines.
Heightened focus on the risks of fentanyl addiction and its presence on the unregulated market will potentially lead to even harsher enforcement efforts targeting those accused of fentanyl-related offenses. Recognizing that fentanyl drug charges may trigger more aggressive actions from judges and prosecutors may help those accused of violating the law better respond to pending charges after seeking legal guidance.